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Trump’s Health Care and Obama Fantasylands

E.J. DIONNE JR. on

WASHINGTON -- We shouldn’t blithely move on to other matters until we deal with the institutional carnage inflicted upon us by Donald Trump.

The current president of the United States has accused former president Barack Obama of committing a felony by having him wiretapped. But Trump refuses to offer a shred of evidence for perhaps the most incendiary charge one president has ever leveled against another. Trump recklessly set off a mighty explosion and his spokespeople duck and dodge, hoping we’ll pretend nothing happened.

If our republic had a responsible Congress, its leaders would accept their duty to demand that a president who shakes his country and the world with such an outlandish allegation either put up proof or apologize.

Unfortunately, we have no such Congress.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., modeled what House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could say. The American people, McCain declared on Monday, “have a right to know on what basis the president of the United States said that his predecessor had broken the law.”

Honestly: Is it so hard for Ryan and McConnell at least to whisper something like this?

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Instead, Republican leaders think it is time for business as usual, which in their case means figuring out how to deprive low-income people of health insurance while cutting taxes on the rich and increasing the deficit.

This is what their replacement of Obamacare would do. Democrats have quickly labeled the bill “Trumpcare,” and why not? Trump described it as “wonderful.” What’s interesting about his embrace is that the proposal fails (forgive me) bigly in living up to the joyous health care future Trump envisioned.

“Everybody’s got to be covered,” the Magician of Mar-a-Lago said on “60 Minutes” in September 2015. “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” Trump’s campaign pledges were so sweeping that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., his then-rival for the Republican presidential nomination, cast Trump as a fan of a single-payer system.

Trump’s health care vows are as credible as his assertions against Obama and as reliable as the guarantees he made to students at Trump University. They sued him over how fake his claims were, and he had to settle.

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